Wanda Dench and Jamal Hinton might have met accidentally but today they share a great bond and an amazing friendship.
Sometimes we unexpectedly cross paths with complete strangers who grow to become part of our family. We may not have planned that meeting but it was just meant to be. One grandmother who had a similar experience has reunited with the young teen she shared an unplanned thanksgiving dinner with, 3 years ago. However, what came out of that incident turned out to be a blessing for her.
Wanda Dench, a grandmother from Arizona was preparing for Thanksgiving in 2016. She texted her then 24-year-old grandson to join her for dinner. However, her message had not reached the intended person and was instead received by a 17-year-old high school student, Jamal Hinton.
Though there was initial confusion, Dench and Hinton sorted it out after sending selfies to each other. Hinton then asked the grandmother if he could join her and her family for Thanksgiving that year. The generous grandmother had no objection at all. She texted him back and said, "Of course you can. That’s what grandmas do … feed everyone.”
The 17-year-old then went over to the grandmother's house for the special dinner and joined her family and friends. “It was so unexpected, but she was just so sweet about it. It was a reminder that there are still some good people left in this world,” told the young man to People. Their story went viral and the two met again and eventually bonded.
“She is a very sweet lady. She told me her husband was a veteran and she always invited his friends over for dinner, so she’s used to having a lot of people over. I just got a vibe from her that made me feel at home,” recalled Hinton.
Dench too shared her initial feeling on the meeting the 17-year-old. “I just clicked when I met him and first talked to him,” Dench told NBC Nightly News. “I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I want to get to know this guy.’ “ Growing up in the military, Dench said she was used to meeting new people and moving around. Therefore, "strangers were not strangers to her," said the grandmother.
Since meeting each other in 2016, their friendship has flourished. Now every year, the now 20-year-old Hinton joins the grandmother and her family for Thanksgiving. Not only did they bond but their dear ones too. This year, the two friends hope to break bread at Hinton's girlfriend Mikaela's Aunt Tauna's house according to ABC News.
Looking back at their meeting, they say it a positive impact on them. “It gives me faith, a lot, in humanity because so many people have been kind,” said the 62-year-old grandmother.